Monday, November 11, 2013

Food Thoughts

I am trying to shift my eating habits, and drag my family along with me. We eat *relatively* healthily, for living in the United States, I suppose; but most Nor-Cals would probably be horrified. Haha. I am trying two things simultaneously, which may not actually be the best of ideas--now that I think about it. I am doing an 8-week sugar detox.

My name is Marla, and I am a sugar addict.

Its really bad. Embarrassingly bad, actually. I've gone through spurts of sugar-cutbacks before, but I always come back. What is different this time? Well...I learned that cancer cells feed on sugar.
I have always had a rather unhealthy fear of cancer--I have seen several people fight it and lose, and its a heart wrenching battle. One that honestly terrifies me. I didn't know of the link between sugar and cancer until recently--I am hoping this is a motivator to make the difference for me. I am doing this program that I found, because I really like the author's blog...
I thought it would be interesting to describe my supposed 8-week journey here. Don't worry, I am fully aware of the fact that I am doing this RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING. I guess I am a fan of self-torture--who knew? I though it might be helpful to myself and to others to chronicle the experience. I like this method because it takes you through a detox and then introduces fructose back into your diet sparingly and offers alternatives in a cookbook. I don't do fad-diets or things that are unsustainable--what's the point? And its very much not about weight--I don't even know what I weigh right now. We don't own a scale. BUT--I know I have a problem with sugar. Just like some people have a problem with alcohol or cigarettes. I don't like something having that much power over my life, so I am going to give it a try. Feel free to comment along the journey--it helps!!

The second thing I mentioned is finding new staple-recipes to put in my family's menu. I am a bit bored with my 12-year old menu (although I think its pretty varied, 12 years is a long time for anything) and I am ready to jazz things up a bit--walk on the wild side! Also, my 8-year old mini-hippie keeps begging me to be vegetarian with her (honestly, what third grader even knows about that?? She's been asking since first grade, truth be told!), and I think it would be a fun thing to do together...but there is no way my family could do that all at once. I'm not even sure how much I really want to be "vegetarian"--I just want to start incorporating regularly new and healthy dishes that don't center around pasta or lots of meat or even lots of wheat. One dish at a time. 

Put this idea into practice last week by trying this "recipe" and it was fantastic! So surprisingly delicious! And for those who are wondering, YES, Stater Brothers does sell anchovy paste! I had it for dinner and for lunch the next day--added a tomato and croutons to it, delicious. This will be the first addition to our menu rotations. We did grab a loaf of Rosemary Olive Oil bread from the discount rack to go with it, and it was yummy--I limited myself to one piece with the salad. Fantastic.

Kale and Romaine Caesar Salad
(Makes 3-4 servings, recipe adapted from Tuscan Kale Caesar Slaw at Bon Appetit Magazine.)

2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice (I use my frozen fresh lemon juice)
1 T anchovy paste from a tube (or substitute soy sauce)
1 tsp. garlic puree (I used garlic puree from a jar)
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
6 T olive oil
2 T + 2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
4-5 oz. romaine lettuce, thinly sliced, washed and dried
4-5 oz. dark green kale, center spine removed if large, thinly sliced, washed, and dried

In a blender, food processor, or the mini-processor bowl of an immersion blender combine the lemon juice, anchovy paste (or soy sauce), garlic puree, and Dijon and pulse together a few times.  Then add the olive oil one tablespoon at a time, pulsing for a few seconds after each tablespoon of oil is added.  (This is easiest in a food processor with a feed tube, but you can do it in a blender or mini-processor easily enough too.)  Stir in 2 T of freshly grated Parmesan and season the dressing with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Put dressing in the fridge and chill until ready to use, or if you want to make the salad right away, chill it in the freezer for 10 minutes or so.

(If making this dressing is just not going to happen at your house, I'd still make the salad and simply dress it with Cardini's Caesar, which is my all-time favorite bottled Caesar dressing, or use your favorite vegan Caesar dressing.)

Thinly slice romaine lettuce in 1/2 inch strips until you have enough to make 4-5 cups sliced romaine.  Wash the sliced lettuce, then spin dry or dry with paper towels.  If you have small garden kale leaves you won't need to cut away the center spine, but for large kale leaves, fold it over along the spine and cut away the thick part of the kale spine and discard.  Then stack up a bunch of kale leaves and slice 1/2 inch thick, repeating until you have enough sliced kale to make 4-5 cups of sliced kale.  Wash kale and spin dry or dry with paper towels.

Combine the sliced romaine and kale in a large bowl, big enough to thoroughly toss the salad.  Add a few tablespoons of dressing and toss, repeating until all the salad greens are very lightly coated with dressing.  (You probably won't need all the dressing, but save it in the fridge for another time.)  Add the remaining 2 T of freshly grated Parmesan to the salad and toss again.  Serve right away.

This recipe is from Kayln's Kitchen.

Okay, there you go--officially my longest post ever! Weigh in on my food thoughts! In a little while, I'll post on what I've been doing for my workouts. Its nice to have TIME to work out (re: no rehearsals!).

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